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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffjohn gilmore Date: Nov 16, 2013 12:19pm
Forum: texts Subject: Re: Stealing credit for for Information taken from the Archive

There are a few issues all jumbled together here. Let me try to sort them out.

To the extent that these manuals are in the public domain, it's legal and honorable for young Mr. Finchum to sell copies of them to anybody. He isn't "stealing" the manuals themselves.

His web site is obviously reaching people who need the manuals and who did not find them in the Internet Archive. Nobody would jump through the hoops he puts up (first type in your credit card info to be charged e.g. $10, then go to your email to get a time-limited link that only works for 5 days, then follow that link to the download) if they knew they could just download it directly and forever from the Internet Archive. So he *is* providing a service to people who want the information and who aren't getting it in his absence.

Now, if the companies who built this equipment and wrote these manuals had a clue, they would be selling or offering free downloads of their manuals themselves. The first place I look for a manual from Company X is on the Company X website! So, Mr. Finchum AND Mr. Arthus AND the Internet Archive are all supplying a demand from the public, that the most sensible provider (the author/publisher) are falling down on the job about. This is a good thing, but not something to get mad about when somebody else does it too.

Mr. Finchum doesn't seem to be claiming that he has copyrighted these public domain manuals, which is another point in his favor. Mr. Arthus actually claimed in one post that they are released under a "Creative Commons non-attribute license" (I'm not sure what he means by that -- perhaps CC's Public Domain Mark https://creativecommons.org/about/pdm ? Or CC-NC? https://creativecommons.org/licenses/) Note that manuals that are public domain in the US because they weren't registered or marked, may be copyrighted in other countries -- see the pages about the Public Domain Mark above. It has long been a scurvy trick of book publishers to take a public domain book like "Tom Sawyer" and add an original copyrighted "essay" about "Life in Tom Sawyer's Time" or something, claiming a vague copyright on the whole result. Similarly, a bastard who digitizes Supreme Court oral arguments at oyez.org claims that his audio engineering has created a copyright in these public domain speeches that lets him demand attribution and prevent commercial distribution of them. I hope Mr. Arthus isn't claiming that his digitization work has produced for him a copyright on these manuals. He seems to be implying that, by getting outraged that somebody else is copying them.

The Terms of Service of the Internet Archive do not legally apply to people who don't get an Archive account. When the Archive hosts public-domain material then it would be counterproductive and disingenuous of the Archive (or any other library) to claim that people are free and encouraged to download it, but they can't actually do anything else with it (like make more copies of it and give or sell them to others). How would the Internet Archive itself be able to distribute public domain materials (like Project Gutenberg books, court decisions, or these farm manuals) if other distributors could lock them up with silly contracts of adhesion like that? To the extent that people are alleging ToS violations here, please be more specific exactly what term you think is being violated.

To the extent that young Mr. Finchum implies that his company digitized all the manuals themselves, there is a certain lack of truthfulness, honor or respect that Mr. Finchum is showing. To that extent he is "stealing credit" even though he is not stealing the manuals. Both Mr. Arthus and the Internet Archive give full credit for the manuals to their respective authors, and mention where they were obtained from and who did the work of digitization and packaging.

Personally, I am a software author and have written and given away many years' worth of my work as "free software" under very permissive licenses like GPL, or in the public domain. I cofounded a business to write free software and give it away, making our money by selling support or development services. Our motto was "What others call piracy, we call distribution!". If somebody could find a customer base who would pay them money for our software, we were happy for those customers to get it -- and this showed us about a market niche that we hadn't seen before and that we might want to address. As originators of the software, we were always a more credible source for it than a mere copyist. And a more credible source for the follow-on business of helping people use it.

So, Mr. Arthus, besides trying to teach that small lesson about respect and honor to young Mr. Finchum, you might want to team up with a young web entrepreneur from your own neighborhood to offer even easier paid downloads of farm manuals from a more credible source. Without the timeout links. If you like, you could make the site run on voluntary donations from grateful farmers, rather than restricting downloads. And you could offer extra, paid services that Mr. Finchum can only do more poorly -- like finding and digitizing unavailable manuals for people, or offering on-the-phone or on-mobile-video help to a farmer facing a mechanical problem that the manual doesn't address, or that neither of you has a manual for.

PS: This page on Mr. Finchum's site claims that they offer a low price guarantee -- that "You will not find manuals cheaper than at Farm Manuals Fast." and "We are so sure of our low price that we will. We will price-match any of our competitor's prices." http://farmmanualsfast.com/How-Farm-Manuals-Fast-Works.html Seems like he already knows that the manuals come for free on the Archive, so he is also lying about this price guarantee. I suggest that you call him on it -- and then tell that wet-behind-the-ears reporter what his response is.

This post was modified by john gilmore on 2013-11-16 20:19:28

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Poster: aibek Date: Nov 16, 2013 8:18pm
Forum: texts Subject: Re: Stealing credit for for Information taken from the Archive

Thanks for your contribution to this issue, Mr Gilmore. I have great admiration for your work. Here, I agree that giving-credit and making-money are best seen as two different issues.

You are considering the issue from the point of view of the end users. Essentially, that Mr Arthus has done _his_ work, all the rest is the end users’ lookout. But consider it from Mr Arthus’ perspective too!

People do care for credit for their work! Mr Arthus is spending time and energy (concern) for doing the work, and people are using the product of it. You think that he should just let it go at that. But, to consider an extreme example, would you say the same thing to Tesla (on Telegraph) and Townes (on Laser) who spent years on legal wrangling merely about the credit?

Even though the issue of copyright is not invoked here, some other unnamed issue is invoked. In analogy with the argument supporting copyright, consider that some legal support is required for many to spend their own resources to release artifacts into public domain. It is a new legal land! In the meantime, however, one has to use existing legal ideas!

To consider the making-money issue, you have me convinced that some thanks is due to Mr Finchum for identifying a “market oppurtunity”. I hope Mr Arthus, and the other poster, Mr R Pal, will consider your suggestions.

Edit: On the other hand, Mr Arthus’ reply below makes clear that no thanks is due to the bare scan-or-copy-manuals-and-make-money idea. I was thinking about Mr Gilmore’s suggestions about the value-added work. That would be a “market opportunity”, but Mr Finchum has not entered that field at all!

This post was modified by aibek on 2013-11-17 04:18:06

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffgarthus1 Date: Nov 16, 2013 7:18pm
Forum: texts Subject: Re: Stealing credit for for Information taken from the Archive

To all,

Thank you for the information and comments. While Mr. Gilmore is correct in what He states, everyone should understand the following:

1 - I thought about doing what Mr. Finchum did many years ago but chose on ethical and moral grounds not to make money this way.

2 – I have never claimed that he violated any copyright laws.

3 – By Publicly claiming that he digitized manuals which I created the digital content for, he is committing fraud. And committing fraud for a poor reason since I have never complained in the past about anyone taking my work and selling it or using it … even if they never attributed the work to me.

4 – My concern lies strictly with him bragging about what he did and how he did it and claiming that he was the first to have this idea. Many others have done this before him, so that is out of the question.

5 – I do not need a lawyer and am not only fully capable of prosecuting a case in Federal court, but have done so many times in the past and even at the current time. I do have grounds to take action against him by declaring venue where I live since his 'crimes' were committed on the Internet and damage has occurred in my state where he has been selling his fraudulently obtained documents. Fraud since while it was legal for him to take the materials, it was not legal for him to declare that he has created them. I can prove incontrovertibly that I created those documents and I or the Internet Archive currently have the originals. Whether he wins in court or not would be irrelevant since he may well have to spend much more than he claims to have made selling his ill-gotten gains, to defend himself.

6 – One other point … and they will be added to any potential litigation … will be the people at the university he attends who mentored him and encouraged him to commit this fraud. I am intimately familiar with the crap that passes for education in many business schools. His mentor and the director of the school of business which he attends is just as guilty as he is because she should have known better. This is common thinking today … make money … feel good … screw anyone who gets in your way and then have people, even those who should know better congratulate you for your good work.

7 – Depending on what he does now that the ball is in his court; I may or may not take legal action. But I can guarantee that I intend to really make it difficult for people to make money like this in the future. I understand how this corrupt system works … better than most people … and I know exactly how to significantly cut into his business. You can also blame Google for purposefully pushing The Archive down in search engines in order to sell precedence to the corporate scum which make money like parasites off of anyone that they can. Those at Google could care less about anyone or anything as long as they can maximize the revenue that they can extract from the 'System', Mr. Finchum and those like him are not entrepreneurs … but are typical examples of parasites living off of a system which is nearing its end as it and its fellow-traveler parasites wallow in the last bit of life that they can suck from the body-politic.

Saying that the document-purloining student saw opportunity that others did not is ludicrous. He is just doing what has become all-too-natural in the business world today. Worshiping money, regardless of how it is made … no moral or ethical values and the arrogance to go along which such an attitude. There can be nothing positive to say about what he did since it shows a total lack of ethical, moral, or good business perspective. He will learn something out of this exercise though … responsibility … when one is confronted with the consequences of their actions.